Series editor's preface
in Sport and technology

Series editor’s preface

There is now a considerable amount of expertise nationally and internationally in the social scientific and cultural analysis of sport in relation to the economy and society more generally. Contemporary research topics, such as sport and social justice, science and technology and sport, global social movements and sport, sports mega-events, sports participation and engagement and the role of sport in social development, suggest that sport and social relations need to be understood in non-Western developing economies, as well as in European, North American and other advanced capitalist societies. The current high global visibility of sport makes this an excellent time to launch a major new book series that takes sport seriously, and makes this research accessible to a wide readership.

The Globalizing Sport Studies series is thus in line with a massive growth of academic expertise, research output and public interest in sport worldwide. At the same time, it seeks to use the latest developments in technology and the economics of publishing to reflect the most innovative research into sport in society currently under way in the world. The series is multi-disciplinary, although primarily based on the social sciences and cultural studies approaches to sport.

The broad aims of the series are to: act as a knowledge hub for social scientific and cultural studies research in sport, including, but not exclusively, anthropological, economic, geographical, historical, political science and sociological studies; contribute to the expanding field of research on sport in society in the United Kingdom and internationally by focusing on sport at regional, national and international levels; create a series for both senior and more junior researchers that will become synonymous with cutting-edge research, scholarly opportunities and academic development; promote innovative discipline-based, multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches to researching sport in society; provide an English language outlet for high-quality non-English writing on sport in society; publish broad overviews, original empirical research studies and classic studies from non-English sources; and thus attempt to realise the potential for globalizing sport studies through open-content licensing with Creative Commons.

At the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake in 2014 the Open Championship organiser, the Royal and Ancient (R&A), installed free Wi-Fi access at a championship course for the first time. Concerns were raised that the innovation might disturb a key aspect of golf etiquette: spectators maintaining silence whilst the players focus on their game. Partly to deal with this problem there was ‘a strict ban on making or receiving calls on the course other than in “mobile device zones”’. Peter Dawson, the Chief Executive of the R&A, commented that ‘technology is something golf has to embrace and people are going to feel a great benefit this year’ (Financial Times, 17 July 2014, p. 4).

In Sport and Technology Roslyn Kerr does not explicitly discuss these developments in championship golf, but she does provide us with a distinctive way to think about and understand the complex relationships between technologies and a variety of sports – the Actor-Network Theory (ANT) perspective. Rather than simply introducing a sport readership to ANT, Kerr demonstrates why such an approach is significant. Specifically, ANT provides a detailed methodology as well as a theoretical basis for understanding the relationship between the human and non-human in sport.

The book begins with a discussion of critiques of ANT, how ANT defines technology and how ANT connects with the work of social theorists such as Haraway, Foucault, and Deleuze and Guattari. It then illustrates the utility of ANT through rich case studies, based on original fieldwork, of the use of technologies in sports such as kayaking, competitive swimming, Australian rules football, cricket and tennis, as well as analyses of doping, refereeing and media broadcasts of sport. Sport and Technology is a distinctive contribution to debates about sport in a global context, an introduction to the Actor-Network Theory way of thinking about sport and a demonstration of the insights the perspective can yield that have value for sport scientists and others involved, or those simply interested, in the development of sport.

John Horne, Preston and Edinburgh, 2015

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Sport and technology

An actor-network theory perspective

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